[1 December 2008]
Sex is the reason why Blondie, a simple buzz-pop group, sold more records than superior bands such as Television or Magazine. Debbie Harry’s magnetism had audiences gawping and moving their bodies rather than thinking about the music. The Ettes crank out simple pop-punk riffs with a groovy Spectoresque vibe and all three of them have a little sex appeal. But the cover of Look At Life Again Soon doesn’t show them decked out in fetching outfits. A pity, as I bet that for every person who wonders if they sound as good as they look, there’s one who just wants to look and another who wonders if they smell as good as they look. Not that I’m suggesting the scratch n’ sniff angle.
The Ettes’ songs are loud and simple - designed to be effective when played live. Interestingly, though, when they ease up a notch on the volume and drop the overt in-your-face posture, things get interesting. The best track here, “Two Shakes” shuffles seductively and “Where Your Loyalties Lie” suggests substance beneath all the energy. “Girls Are Mad” begins promisingly with a something close to a very familiar riff and I found myself hoping that Poni would step from behind the drums and sing: “This and that, they must be the same/ What is legal is just what’s real/
What I’m given to understand/ Is exactly what I steal…” Spunky and direct but very much new skin for the old ceremony.